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Witchy Fiction

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I just finished the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness, A Discovery of Witches, , Shadow of Night, and the last (most recent) book, The Tree of Life, which was published in July.  Well researched, which is a must for a bibliophile like myself.  I collect old manuscripts and antique books so this series was like literary crack for me.

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"The Winter Witch", "The Witch's Daughter", "The Midnight Witch" all by Paula Brackston. Not a series, but three stand alone novels featuring witches. I enjoyed them all.

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I can't believe I just found this thread! I should have come to the Books and Music Reviews section much sooner. There's enough here to keep me occupied until the end of days.

 

I'm going to go ahead and plug the same series that I did in a previous one of my posts.

 

The Circle of Magic series by Tamora Pierce. I love the author's take on what she calls "ambient magic", because of how similar it may seem to anyone who has ever tried to sense the energy in things they work with in the mundane world. You can also tell that she has done her research. Not on magic, but on sewing, gardening, metalwork, glasswork, etc. All of the crafts that she writes about are very accurate to the subject matter.

 

Types of ambient magic in the books:

- Stitch mage

- Green mage

- Metal mage

- Weather mage

- Stone mage

- Fire mage

- Glass mage

 

And on and on and on.

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As a kid, I was entranced by The White Witch of Kynance, by Mary Calhoun. I wanted to be An Marget, the village witch, so badly as a kid. :flyaway: I've read Tamora Pierce's Circle of Magic series too and loved it. And I'm a huge fan of Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar books. There is magic, although I would not call them witchy, I don't think. Ditto for Piers Anthony's Xanth series- tons of magic, doesn't feel witchy. I can't wait to check out the other books mentioned here! :happy:

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Just got “Long Black Curl” by Alex Bledsoe, the third book in the “Tales of the Tufa” series. Haven’t started it yet, but I really enjoyed the first two books. The stories are set in Appalachia and contain a lot of mountain lore and folk magic. Really fun books to read.

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Another Terry Pratchett, Monica Furlong & Tamora Pierce fan here. Also, I have a couple of suggestions that haven't been mentioned yet (as far as I saw):

 

I've read three of Dion Fortune's magical novels & enjoyed them: The Goat Foot God, Moon Magic, The Sea Priestess.

 

Rosemary Edgehill has an interesting (Brit Trad Wiccan) heroine in her mystery trilogy compilation; Bell, Book and Murder.

 

Starhawk's about to publish a sequel to her lovely dystopian novel The Fifth Sacred Thing, which also has a prequel called Walking to Mercury. The new book is called City of Refuge. Obviously I haven't read it yet, but I did enjoy the other two.

 

And as a New Zealander, I have to recommend one of our greatest authors, Margaret Mahy, who started writing children's & teen's stories in the late sixties. In particular, she wrote a teen novel called The Changeover that is delightfully witchy and wonderful to read.

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I did enjoy the Mayfair Witches series by Anne Rice. But two books that I loved were Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquival and The Witches Dream: A Healer's Way of Knowledge by Florida Donner-Grau. The protagonist in Like Water for Chocolate was never called a witch if I remember correctly but it was a very witchy, magical book. The one by Florida Donner-Grau may have been based on her actual experiences. I don't remember now. She was a student of Carlos Castenada, I believe. I think I'm going to have to reread those two actually.

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I absolutely LOVED "Uprooted" by Naomi Novik - she uses her familial knowledge of Slavic fairy tales and Baba Yaga to spin this fabulousness. Highly recommend it.

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I'm a big fan of Anne Bishop's Black Jewels trilogy, The Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs, and the Yasmin Galnorn's Otherworld series (not because it's well-written, it's not, but Camille's love live is too much fun).

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What a fantastic thread - I have to second Margaret Mahy's "changeover" - I read this as a young kind and have been wondering for years (decades) about that book - couldn't remember the author or title or anything but the scantest details and the fact that it took place in New Zealand- Although something about the *feeling* or mood/theme of it definitely stayed with me throughout the years! Must get my hands on it again. I am quite happy to re-read fiction I enjoyed as a child or teen!

I'm sure I've read some of these. I always took books out from the library and often didn't jot down the author or title.

One book that may or may not qualify that stands out is "Wyrms" by Orson Scott Card. The theme or moral was possibly objectionable to this crowd but I liked the psychic communication aspect and just the bizarre quality of it. It was a fascinating novel. I loved many of his.

Shirley Jackson's novels scared the pants off me -- weird, dark, horrifying... "we have always lived in the castle" especially. " I couldn't finish "The haunting of hill house" because whenever I was reading it phenomena would happen in the room I was sleeping in at the time such as multiple light bulbs burning out practically simultaneously, and light flicks switching off (and ON, which was even more scary), hag-style sleep paralysis... It's a story unto itself, really freaked me out - and there are rumours that this is a not-unheard of thing that happens when reading that particular novel.

I'm a huge fan of Dion Fortune, although the only actual novel I've read of hers is "The secrets of doctor Taverner", which was long but I definitely enjoyed. (I've read many of her non-fiction books). I do plan to read all of her novels in time, when the time is right. She has stated that her non-fiction appeals to our logical minds and that practice and/or her fiction books tap into our subconscious awareness, especially in the case of "The mystical Qabalah" (which I've studied for a number of years) and "The Sea Priestess" (which Michael Howard, editor of Cauldron magazine, has stated bore fruit in the mind for years to come after reading it). I really look forward to experiencing this. In fact I have this novel on my book shelf but have not quite felt called to delve into it yet.

I think it is so important to read fiction, especially for voracious readers who take in a lot of non-fiction - for balance. So thus I think what Dion fortune stated as both in conjunction with each other being the "keys to the temple" applies when it comes to logic and art tougether - we need both. I read from all genres, and I feel that a profound work of fiction from any style or genre has much to offer the esotericist (or however you want to term the witch, magician, intuitive, etc). Actually I recall about this time last year I had taken in an enormous amount of reading on my path, when suddenly I was gently nudged towards "Lonesome Dove" (a western!) around the same time I had a few days off work. That novel had a most impactful effect on me, and taught me more about human nature than a dozen books on psychology ever could, my God I adored that book - it was one of the best I've ever read.

So I don't shun any genre! But I must be drawn to a book in the moment in order to pick it up and stick with it- I can't just read something on demand.

I personally didn't like the one Anne Rice I read in the Mayfair Witch series (The Witching Hour)- I felt drained after that particular 1000 pages. I did enjoy a few of her vampires and I really loved "Exit to Eden", which is not even considered that noteworthy of her collection but for me was terribly enjoyable and emgaging. I've heard she's turned to Jesus in recent years. - how peculiar! But you never know. And I am actually not one to shun Jesus either.

Final guilty pleasure confession: Circle of Three series by isobel Bird. Look it up and lol all the way to "buying with one click" on amazon for kindle! I've read a lot of really silly stuff. Would read anything with a witch or supernatural theme when I was a kid and teen.

Edited by LadySea

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On 12/22/2016 at 5:36 AM, LadySea said:

Shirley Jackson's novels scared the pants off me -- weird, dark, horrifying... "we have always lived in the castle" especially. " I couldn't finish "The haunting of hill house" because whenever I was reading it phenomena would happen in the room I was sleeping in at the time such as multiple light bulbs burning out practically simultaneously, and light flicks switching off (and ON, which was even more scary), hag-style sleep paralysis... It's a story unto itself, really freaked me out - and there are rumours that this is a not-unheard of thing that happens when reading that particular novel.

I'm a huge fan of Dion Fortune, although the only actual novel I've read of hers is "The secrets of doctor Taverner", which was long but I definitely enjoyed. (I've read many of her non-fiction books). I do plan to read all of her novels in time, when the time is right. She has stated that her non-fiction appeals to our logical minds and that practice and/or her fiction books tap into our subconscious awareness, especially in the case of "The mystical Qabalah" (which I've studied for a number of years) and "The Sea Priestess" (which Michael Howard, editor of Cauldron magazine, has stated bore fruit in the mind for years to come after reading it). I really look forward to experiencing this. In fact I have this novel on my book shelf but have not quite felt called to delve into it yet.

 

Wonderful thread, I didn't even know Dion Fortune had written fiction!

I adore Shirley Jackson, and We Have Always Lived in the Castle certainly is her most 'witchy' novel - the narrator Merricat is a witch, there's no other word for it. I have to look through my collections of Jackson's short stories to unearth the witchiest... Her whole work is magical though, no doubt.

If, like me, you're desperate for more 'adult' (as in 'dealing with more complex emotions and facts of life, and peopled with older characters') witchy fiction, here are my favorites:

Lolly Willowes, by Sylvia Townsend Warner. A very short read, I don't want to say too much about it - I found it transformative. It's so unique? Lolly is an inspiration. We follow her from childhood but the most interesting things happen when she's quite old, which is refreshing.

The Master and Margarita, High Weird Russian magical realist novel. Quite possibly the most entertaining thing I've ever read. You just never know what it's gonna throw at you. Steeped in a folklore I'm quite unfamiliar with, which was part of the appeal for me.

Medea. Euripides, accept no substitute.

These two might appeal more to those of us who also identify as occultist, but I'm sure many among us would like them as much as I did:

Piranesi, by Susanna Clarke. The long-awaited second novel by this wonderful author. Predatory academics chasing their own tails while the thing is right there for those who'd listen. In a bizarre roundabout way, I can relate to the protagonist. If you like the Borges/Calvino school of willful architecture, and entertain or wholly live out the notion of animism, this might be a nice read for you.

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norell, still by Susanna Clarke. Her first, shattering brick of a novel, thrown from left field, so utterly unique it steals your breath. This is re-enchantment.

Also, I'm reading Circe by Madeline Miller at the moment, if it keeps going this way it'll probably make it to my personal 'adult witches' list!

 

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On 11/17/2020 at 12:09 AM, spectropoetics said:

Also, I'm reading Circe by Madeline Miller at the moment, if it keeps going this way it'll probably make it to my personal 'adult witches' list!

 

Despite a slightly disappointing last act, this book made it to my 'adult witchy fiction' list haha. The way it describes witchcraft is fabulous.

I'm now breezing through Living Alone by Stella Benson in between heady non-fiction chapters, it's an absolute delight. Heartily recommend.

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